Tuesday, January 22, 2002

I got an interesting letter in my box today!

believe it or not, i once was in the U S Air Force!
i enjoyed my four years very much and i went to Japan for two of those years...a tale in itself!
while i japan, i belonged to a "67th rts" squadren.
this letter, below, One of the Officers is writting a book about the Squadren...and i wrote up a bit of my history there for him, some of which i reproduce, below.

[each of us "wears many many hats" in our lives. many callings. this was one of mine.]
=======================================
--- R.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> G. may have told you but, I am writing a
> history of the 67th at Yokota. I have gotten
> contributions, memories and thoughts from a number
> of folks and what you have written (and he
> passed on to me) would fit right in.
>
include your thoughts
> in the book?

> talk about people you
> worked with, jobs you processed, missions, our
> equipment, the Squadron, morale--anything to give a
> reader a taste of what it was like.

> R.
>

Hello R.
[and T. too, as i want to do this in one shot as i can only type about 5-8wpm!!]


lets see....what i can recall, again.

tis was about october of 1966, and i was a bit nevious as my combat support group squadreon at Yakota was about to send me off. i had been on the base for a year and i always passed that 67th "recutech"
building on the way to work in that hanger, with a computer, to process the base records with: i was a computer operator.
there were whispers behind my back a month ago...and i just KNEW it was about me: it WAS! 67th was short of men and a Favor was to be returned and i went.
Yes, that building was very mysterious to me, being all fenced in and it took a secret clearance just to enter it. So one day i entered this building with Orders in hand...and airman first. i sorta knew that if i entered, i would never never leave!

well....that year, dec 66 to dec 67...was the very very best year of my Enlistment!
I was a computer operator in the computer room. there was an old 1401 computer with expanded memory and 6 tape drives. this was a great computer for its day...
I believe sgt Walsh was my supervisior...

so my 67th life began...

evening shift, thus I not there for all the intrigues of the day shift: often i would be the only person in the room, a BANK VAULT! yes a vault. sgt Pittsenberger sat at the front desk and it was his job to "say no" to anyone who entered, and to be the receptionist, as it took practically a top secret clearence just to get in!
behind Pittsenburger was a "green door" with a lock on it. the song "the green berets" played on the music system, and it played night and day over and over and over. i asked him why it was played, he told me it was to provide background music so to drown out any spy-snooping bugs that the Communists may have planted in the vault! He told me that about three times a year the People would come to try to find these plants of buggers and they ALWAYS found one or two!
when he said that....i knew that this was as close as i would get to being in "James Bond's world" and it was for REAL! the Cold War was still "on" and each side had 12,000+ A-bomb missiles. this was ground zero, this room.
[when i worked at that combat support squadren, they told me in AWE how one day, a few months before i came there, 67th neeeded to use one of their machines to process some of their cards on...67th was only about 500 feet away. they were SUITIBLY impressed that the operator cleaned out *every* punch-card chip, from the cardpunch machine...a top secret job, why every scrap of card was classified: this was a BIG DEAL to people who processed shot records, base supply, and dental exams schedules...only!
One evening when i came to work, i was told that I, MYSELF, had to walk over to my old squadren, like of that other person months ago, and to use, like him, that punch machine! so when the day shift left and i had supper, i shut up the vault, and me and another guy walked into the combat support group room with a tray of cards, to be punched: yes i cleaned out each and every card-punch and took them all with me back to 67th!!

-really blew me away to see a 67th document stamp, the stamp that stamped the "above top secret" documents with: this stamp ITSELF was stamped "secret' as that clearence was in and of itself a "secret: imagine a secret stamp that was itself a secret item! the walls were lined with maps: i troubled a bit some sgt when i asked if there were any of these maps that i could get somewheres to decorate my barracks walls with...only as i looked closer did i see that these maps were CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS! secret and top secret, no less! maps of china: i was most impressed with that pictation of the 10,000 feet deep crater, about ten miles wide...that was a meteorite crater, a crater that to this day no one knows about!! somewheres in the desolation of the
Gobi desert.
Me and others worked that shift for that year.
donald berk
micheal shea
[do you all know their addresses?!]
Oscer Ogg was a officer who "drafted' me for some special map plotting projects: got me on the day shift about one week per month, for a number of months.
on the quiet evenings, i had got to know sgt Ondrezeek, who often had duty down at the "other' vault, the operation room...i would go to see him and also to read the Intelligence teletypes outputs, from around the world and in Nam. all this while the 1401 sorted 200,000 bits of data, these sorts took hours. but someone had to be there, of course, as usual there were bugs and hangups of one kind or of another.
too...i would often stop by the film area where the photo-interpetation was done. poor enlisted men, friends i had, with "bowling ball eyes" had to scan and interpet all of the overflight photos of Nam that was took, on the overflights. miles and miles of film...they told me that the film-leader was near a mile long as it took that length just to get this developer up to speed at 50 MPH!!!
---a room full of tables...i saw interesting scenes of
Nam jungle and targets: gave to me a REAL FEEL for my job in the computer room: i was not "slacking" by visiting here, as well as the hours spent in the operational room...these gave to me a whole-istic feel for my mission...the computer room missions were of course a bit "abstract" as my job was to handle cards and printout: just words and symbols...the op room and the lab gave to me the "flesh" upon the "bones"...so that i could visuilize better my mission and its Importances!
my mission was to operate this computer that basicly analyzed the targets that were found on the overflight films. lat and longtitude to [??]six decimal places, and the troops who studied the photos would be able to give to me an IBM card, one for each target.
thus my "route search" targets that a runner would bring to me, would contain a handfull of found targets, from that particular plane overflight. there would be officers biting their nails as the runner comes in...
each target had the lat and long, plus about room for ten words of descriptions of the target.
machine guns...camps...buildings...troops, even a "buffalo running SW"...would be entered into the system to be compared against the master History file and thus
what would come out of the computer would basicly be what needed to be bombed by the radar-bombing planes, thus the exact lat-long needed co-ordinates!
Out of the printout and the special tapes would come the finished information, and on to...to a "building that is not there", to be sent off to ???[ do NOT ask!]
thus the computer was the ultimate brain behind the photo-interpeters.
yes, i would come in at 4 pm...chow hall was not open, no early dinner, i would find the shift leaving, and sgt walsh or ??? would show me a table with
a row of "jobs" for the night. when housekeeping 250,000 "targets, often one job could take the whole night and then some! i would go off for dinner, quickly, or a carryout, and then return to sit there fixixing errors or doing the ever ever frequent route searches.

yes my favorite duty.
i got to see much of the local countryside of japan.
I never told anyone where i worked, outside of the 67th community...
I never knew, personally, the officers: work and "segregation", of course. i knew some of the photo lab people...names are too too dim, cannot recall.

and ya know, i never ever got to use the snack bar!
67th had their own, i can see why, with the 24hour needs of the Mission. but my evening shift did not allow: least i got to eat the "midnight chow"...next morning's breakfast, but better, cause it was fresher...at midnight.

Now, for the rest of my life, up to now, of my 60 years, my Time in 67th has given to me a great Appreciation of "Intelligence"...the "spy versions" and the Reconnisance versions...like of the overflights and
Searchings in Afgan! i always was reminded of 67th, as i saw and read of the war there.
In fact, i nearly re-enlisted, in december, but i had Other Plans, instead....i never never "bad mouthed"
the Air Force, like most enlisted men seemed to do, i was more older, perhaps, but also more Intelligent!

i wish, NOW, i had the proper retort, to all of the carping of "they spent $80,000 just to give to me this training/clearence/job....and it is never never used: WHAT a waste"!
NOW...my retort, my answer to these put-downers...would be, "hey, you spent $400 a year or more for insurance on your car, for years, and you never even had a bumper scratch, you paid now over $3000 for nothing? NO! you did not, as maybe tomorrow
you will total your car and then this Policy will be
the Realest thing that you have, the very most important thing for you!! same with your Mission that took the us gov $80,000 to give to you and to have you sit on your butt every day: you never never know that the Communists in Russia may decide to declare War on the usa and then the military will have ten minutes to get someone CLEARANCE-CLEARED and TRAINED...you are the Insurance policy of the united states, as all of the Defense $spending i$ for! our collective Insurance policy IN CASE, like of your car"!

well, lets see
not much more that i can recall now....

freestone